I first heard of Cool Spring Preserve a couple of months ago, and I’ve been looking forward to taking the short trip down Routes 9 and 340 ever since. This relatively new addition to the local natural sites operated by the Potomac Valley Audubon Society contains approximately 1.25 miles of hiking trails and a rare wetland that makes it a must see for local wildlife enthusiasts.
Only 100 known acres of Shenandoah Wet Prairie Marl Marsh exist worldwide, and Cool Spring contains the only tract of this wetland located in West Virginia. This marshy area located along Bullskin Run contains 18 rare plant species, and it is known locally as a birding hotspot.
The hiking trails include the Studio Loop, Meadow Loop, and Rock Break Trail. The paths are very well-maintained, and the slightly rolling countryside is easy for hikers of all ages and skill levels. We walked all of the trails and registered less than 50′ of elevation gain. It doesn’t get much easier than that! Also, there are colorful, artsy trail signs and bird feeders, and the kiosk and map provide all of the information you’ll need to get started.
In the future, this site’s main building will serve as the headquarters of the PVAS, and with that, there should be numerous birdwatching opportunities for novices (like me!). Cool Spring is a great place to spend a couple of hours, and I’m already anticipating my next visit!